Welcome to Azerbaijan! This is the land of fire and the pearl of Caucasus, the land where the eastern colors are magnificently combined with the western progress. Azerbaijan is the country of unique nature, unmatched culture, centuries of history with its customs and traditions, fine cuisine, which will satisfy the expectation of the most sophisticated gastronomists, and finally, it is the country of Caucasian hospitality and friendliness.
Azerbaijan is situated at the eastern side of the Transcaucasia (or South Caucasus) on the shore of the Caspian Sea. The population of Azerbaijan exceeds 9.8 million and the territory is 86 600 square kilometers. According to both of these figures, Azerbaijan is the largest country of the South Caucasus. The City of Baku is the capital and the largest city of the country. National language here is Azerbaijani; however, the Russian language is also widely used, while the majority younger residents speak English as well. Azerbaijan shares borders with Iran (765 km), Turkey (15 km), Russia (390 km), Georgia (480 km) and Armenia (1007 km). Eastern borders of the country are washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea.
While used to be a part of the Great Silk Way and situating on the crossing of the geopolitical, economic and cultural interests of many nations and civilizations, Azerbaijan since the ancient times provoked the interest of great minds, scientists, travelers and historians. References about this amazing land, located at the western coast of the Caspian Sea and eastern part of the South Caucasus, can be found in the ancient writings of Herodotus, Strabo, and Claudius Ptolemy. Azerbaijan has an amazing historical and cultural heritage with more than 7500 of natural, archeological, architectural, and historical monuments. Cave drawings at Gobustan, Momine-Khatun and Garabaghlar mausoleums, the Palace of Sheki Khans, the Maiden Tower, castles of Absheron, medieval manuscripts decorated with magnificent miniature paintings, antique rugs, and works of literature, arts and sculpture – all of it is just a small portion of the country’s priceless heritage.
Azerbaijan is often referred to as the “Land of Fire”. It is known that the majority of the population, residing on this territory before the Common Era has worshipped the fire. Since then, the country keeps the ancient evidence of that era: the cave paintings, statues of gods and ancient temples. One of the most vivid demonstrations of this heritage is the temple of fire-worshippers (“Ateshgah”) at Surakhani district near Baku and “Yanardag”, translated as the burning mountain. According to the legend, the “Ateshgah” temple was built by the Indian fire worshippers, who have arrived here after learning about the eternally burning fire, coming out of the ground, and were so amazed with what they have seen, that decided to build a temple on this very place. These lands were considered to be sacred for centuries and throughout the history were worshipped by the followers ofZoroastrianism, Hindus and Sikhs.
The fire rhetoric, passed from generation to generation, was reflected in many works of Azerbaijani masters throughout the centuries, and recently has reached its culmination. The “Flame Towers” complex, built in Baku not long ago and in a short period of time turned into the architectural landmark of the capital city, embodies a tribute to the history, and represents the symbol of a new Azerbaijan – a new, ambitious country, aimed at progress and development, but still loyal to its roots and origins.
Azerbaijan is the West in East and the East in West! Here, the West will find the Asia, and the Asia will make its first step into Europe. Welcome!